French Subject Pronouns

Beginner French - Level A1

Overview

Personal pronouns have different forms to match the different grammatical persons they replace. There are five different kinds of French personal pronouns, in this module we will focus on Subject pronouns.

Subject Pronouns

  • Serve as the subject of verbs.
  • May be singular or plural, masculine or feminine to agree with the noun (subject) they replace.

Vocabulary

Subject Pronouns

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French A1

 

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French Subject Pronouns

A pronoun takes the place of and functions as a noun. This means that a pronoun replaces who or what is being talked about in a sentence. A personal subject pronoun specifically replaces the subject of the sentence. The pronoun will agree in gender and number with the person or the group of people that it replaces.

Alexa plays the violin.

She plays the violin.

Eddie and Blake go for a walk.

They go for a walk.

She and They are the two subject pronouns. Alexa is replaced with "she" because the sentence is referring to one singular female. Eddie and Blake are replaced with "they" because the sentence is referring to more than one person.

In French, there are nine different personal subject pronouns.

 Le pronom sujet

 The Subject Pronoun

 Label

 Je

 I

 first person singular

 Tu

 You

 second person singular  (informal)

 Il

 He, It

 third person singular  (masculine)

 Elle

 She, It

 third person singular  (feminine)

 On

 One

 third person singular   (neutral)

 Nous

 We

 first person plural

 Vous

 You

 second person plural (or formal singular)

 Ils

 They

 third person plural
(masculine)

 Elles  They  third person plural (feminine)
 

Tu vs. Vous

Both of these subject pronouns mean "You." Vous is most commonly used because it is what one uses to be polite. This would include talking to a stranger or a superior (i.e. a person of higher status or older age). You use Tu when you are talking to a close friend or someone in your family.

On

The personal subject pronoun On has several different meanings . On can translate to the singular and gender neutral pronoun "One" or can mean "We" and refer to a group of people (but still being classified as a singular pronoun).

On aime la plage en ete.

One likes the beach in the summer.

On aime la plage en ete.

We like the beach in the summer.

Ils/Elles

Just like the singular versions (Il/Elle) Ils and Elles correspond in gender and number with who or what they're referring to. Ils can refer to a group of all males or a mix between males and females as well as a group of masculine/gender mix of nouns. Elles can only refer to a group of females or a group of female nouns.

Lesson Provided by: Abbey Phillian

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In depth explanations and pronunciation tricks of the subject pronouns in French.

Exercise: Write which French subject pronoun you would use to replace the BOLD subject of each sentence.
1) Caroline does some shopping on the weekend. ___________
2) My mother and I are traveling to France. ___________
3) You are a great teacher, Madame Markle!___________
4) They are the nicest group of girls! _________
5) You are my best friend! _________
 
Answers:
1) Elle - Caroline is referring to a girl so her name would be replaced with "She"
2) Nous - The pronoun "We" would replace "My mother and I"
3) Vous - Out of the two possible options to say "You" in French, Vous is the correct answer.
Addressing a teacher (or anyone with a higher status than you) should take the more
formal version of "You" unless that person indicates otherwise.
4) Elles - "They" would be replaced with Elles because the pronoun is referring to a group
of people who are all female.
5) Tu - Out of the two possible options to say "You" in French, Tu is the correct answer.
Addressing a close friend should take the more informal version of "You."

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